Cowdrey Rodeo Endowment Receives $25,000 Gift to Support UMW Scholarships

Marvin R. “Buz” Cowdrey was born and raised in Whitehall, Montana. He attended grade school in Cardwell, Montana, and high school in Whitehall. He was a standout athlete, lettering four years in track and basketball. Buz graduated in 1958 from Whitehall High School and continued his education at Western Montana College, now known as the University of Montana Western, where he received a teaching degree.

In 1959, Buz married Judy Huckaba and in 1962, they moved to Bozeman where he started his teaching career as a history teacher at Bozeman Junior High. Cowdrey had a love for history and traveled many miles across the U.S. visiting historic sites. In 1971, after nine years of teaching, he retired to begin a full-time career in real estate and construction. Buz and Judy owned and operated many real estate projects in Montana and Arizona. 

Buz was active in the Bozeman community and was very committed to supporting the Bozeman Hawks, Montana State University, and the University of Montana Western Rodeo Program. He was a successful bull rider in his younger days, winning many events throughout his rodeo career. Buz served as a board member and treasurer of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for several years and was honored as the Outstanding Alumnus of the NIRA in 2014. He also served on the MSU Foundation Board for 20 years. 

Cowdrey’s love for rodeo and his continued involvement in the sport at the collegiate level inspired his family to gift annually to the Montana Western Rodeo Program through the Cowdrey Rodeo Endowment. Recently, Judy Cowdrey committed a $25,000 gift in support of the rodeo endowment in memory of Buz. Buz passed away on March 24, 2022. 

UMW Rodeo Coach, JT Robbins, has chosen to award a $1,000 scholarship this spring from the rodeo endowment to Luke Murphy, a junior majoring in Business Administration at Montana Western. 

 “Scholarships are paramount for the rodeo program. They help our students financially and are essential for recruitment. We are proud to award Luke Murphy for the spring semester. Luke always has a good attitude, is extremely supportive of his teammates, and is an excellent competitor,” said Robbins.

The UMW Foundation is grateful for the continued support of the Cowdrey family and are honored to provide this scholarship from the Cowdrey Rodeo Endowment. If you would like to learn more about the UMW Foundation, please contact Executive Director Roxanne Engellant: 406-683-7305 or